Thoughts about MeeGo

In a country with freedom of speech, one has to say something to every happening, right? So here is my try:

Basically the merge of Maemo and Moblin is logical and consequent as Nokia and Intel already collaborated with ofono and merging helps joining the efforts. This is quite necessary as neither Maemo nor Moblin could survive on their own in a world where everybody else uses Android and soon will start using Chrome OS. There was also a need to make Moblin more like Meamo to be able to compete with the iPad.

That sounds greet so far, right? Joint efforts, bigger community, open to everybody… But the problem is the way the merge is going to happen. Moblin is more or less a huge techdemo so far – everybody who I know uses Ubuntu Netbook Remix on their Netbook, as it is more production ready and end user oriented. The same also applies to Maemo.

It is a bit sad that the next Maemo/ MeeGo Harmattan will be Qt based though, at it means that all the currently working applications have to be rewritten without gaining an immediate benefit. But considering that Qt is technically more advanced than GTK and that it allows deploying your application on the different OS Nokia uses this is understandable.

What is less understandable is that MeeGo will be based on RPM/ Moblin/ Fedora. And at least for Fedora the official motto is merging new features as fast possible, which is nice for developers but less nice for end users, as the distribution is less stable. So while it is logical to base a tech-demo like Moblin on Fedora, I would not base anything that is supposed to be stable on it.

But this is exactly what shall happen with MeeGo. This means Maemo has to abandon its Debian roots and rebase everything to RPM. By everything I mean the huge amount of packaging experience gained during the last 5 years, the build infrastructure and of course the core package management applications. This has also an impact on the community infrastructure, downloads, karma are coupled to the DEB format too.

So what do we gain by rebasing to RPM? Maybe the Moblin interface which is indeed nice? Actually no, as it is Clutter/GTK based while MeeGo will use Qt – besides the Moblin interface was packaged by Ubuntu as deb too. Ok the Moblin community will not need to change its infrastructure, but is the Moblin community actually that big?

As I really wonder why we switch to RPM I started a wiki to collect the arguments, and as it does not look too good for RPM also a brainstorm vote.

  • Stephane

    I don’t think your analogy with Fedora and Moblin is really fair, and I do not agree with you on that point.
    “Based on” doesn’t mean “on pair with”. The Meego project can pick up some Fedora technologies avoiding the experimental stuff.
    The Fedora community also regroups some creator/contributor of some key Linux projects (as some are paid by Red Hat), which may help to have solid stuff in Meego.
    And as a Fedora user, I can say the stability of this distribution is outstanding considering all the new things it implements 😉

  • Thomas

    Note that neither MeeGo nor Moblin are based on Fedora.
    Moblin was initially based on Ubuntu, then tried to switch to Fedora but in the end decided to go their own and RPM way.

  • Birdy

    I can see a lot of work for MeeGo. And I see a lot off challenges. But the question of RPM/DEB seams to a really minor one. Especially as RPM is not really inferior (anymore).
    There are really a lot more bigger challenges to master than the RPM/DEB question. The Qt based UI. “Unification” of the core. The problems of merging the development teams. Getting started to build (take over) the communities. Build a great/simple SDK. Get more partners on board. All these things are way more important than the package format.

    But besides the massive work, I see a lot potential.
    Maemo alone was pretty weak to attract a lot of hardware and software vendors, and users. The same applied to Moblin. But MeeGo seems (might?) to be able to attract all of them in a greater amount.

  • @Birdy
    my point was not about RPM/ DEB format but especially about the implications it has for the community. And I think the new MeeGo community can gain a lot more(or at least faster) by sticking to the Maemo infrastructure, which happens to be DEB.

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